MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Honor Flight South Alabama takes off Wednesday, May 8, to honor World War II Veterans in our Washington, D.C. The one-day trip includes a tour of the World War II memorial and visits with elected officials.
FOX10 News sat down with one of those veterans going on the trip. As he described it, he's been looking forward to this for a long time.
Gunners Mate 2 nd Class Harold McLain served in WWII from 1943-1946.
"We thought we were supposed to do whatever we were told to do for our nation. And we didn't think much about being heroes or about being special. We just did our job," McLain said.
That job, he said, was fighting for our nation.
Wednesday, Mr. McLain and fellow veterans from the war will receive a special gift for sacrifices they've made – a trip to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorial that honors them.
"I've been before, but haven't been since the World War II Memorial was put up so I haven't seen it," said McLain.
Mr. McLain's two sons, Mark and Tim, are going along as guardians. Their role is to accompany the veterans throughout the day. Mark in particular is looking forward to it.
"He was so impressed at what was going on. He said, ‘I sure would like to make this trip,'" said McLain.
In March, Mr. McLain lost the love of his life after 64 years of marriage - his wife Jo Ann. He said she was the backbone behind this trip and would have loved to go along.
"Oh, she was determined I was going to go. She was a very persuasive person, 64 years and she's gone. We know that's going to happen, but we're never ready for it," McLain said.
The memory of Jo Ann and the memory of war still linger in Mr. McLain's mind.
War memorials like the USS Alabama on Mobile Bay mean so much to these veterans. McLain said, however, what means more is traveling to our nation's capitol and where they can visit memorials commemorating the wars they fought in.
"I expect to have a great time. We will be back in Mobile around 7:30, and we will all be exhausted. It's going to be a long, long day. But it's going to be a fun time. I think we were a little bit different in that we didn't seek any praise for what we had done - still don't," said McLain.
When asked about the praise that will be waiting upon their return, Mr. McLain said, "Yes. My family is getting ready to bring a van full of folks and other people are going to be there so we're looking forward to quite a reception when we get back."
The veterans will board buses bright and early Wednesday morning at 4:30 from Fort Whiting, then will travel to Mobile Regional Airport where they will catch a flight at 7 a.m. to Washington. They will return Wednesday evening at 7:30 and look forward to a big crowd welcoming them home.
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